A Review of Scale Development Practices in Nonprofit Management and Marketing

By Wymer, Walter; Alves, Helena Maria Baptista | Economics & Sociology, July 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

A Review of Scale Development Practices in Nonprofit Management and Marketing


Wymer, Walter, Alves, Helena Maria Baptista, Economics & Sociology


ABSTRACT. We describe a set of recommended practices for scale development research in nonprofit management and marketing. General process issues are described followed by recommendations for EFA and CFA components of scaling research. Implications for researchers, journal editors and reviewers are discussed.

JEL Classification : L31

Keywords: Scale development, scaling procedures

Introduction

The fields of nonprofit management and nonprofit marketing have been emerging as their own disciplines. Although initial research into these areas generally involved applying concepts from commercial management and marketing research into the nonprofit context, this simple application into the nonprofit context proved disappointing. It became increasingly apparent to nonprofit management and marketing scholars that the operationalizations of commercial management/marketing variables (that is, their measures) were inappropriate for use in measuring these concepts in nonprofit sector settings). In some cases, the measures could be adapted by rewording scale items to make them meaningful in the nonprofit context. However, in other cases, substantial changes in a measure implicate the concept being measured. If a measure's dimensions differ or the scale items differ when a concept is measured, then either there are two underlying concepts or the original concept or its measure lack validity.

It is not difficult to understand the incentives that encouraged early nonprofit management and marketing researchers to base their work on concepts and their measures developed for commercial management and marketing phenomena. These researchers were trained in the commercial context. A body of research had already been established. There was a need for acceptance by the research community used to thinking within a commercial context.

The need for nonprofit scholars to develop appropriate conceptualizations of constructs and valid measures for those constructs is now salient in many areas. Indeed, the further development of the nonprofit management and marketing fields requires this. Our work, then, will make a contribution by examining the state of the field with respect to scale development work in the nonprofit management and marketing fields. Given this substantive need in the nonprofit research community, we believed it was timely and important to (1) identify scale development research in our areas, (2) assess its quality, and (3) recommended best practices. The contribution of this study is twofold. First, our work will facilitate the identification of scales for the nonprofit research community. Second, our work will provide a guide for future scale development research to be done with accordance with sound methodological procedures.

In reporting our study, we will first describe our process for identifying extent scale development research. Then we will describe commonalities among these studies. Afterwards, we will recommend best practices for future development research. Finally, we will conclude with recommendations for researchers, journal editors, and article reviewers. Our common goal is to encourage more high quality scale development research in our fields so that knowledge discovery can continue and our fields mature.

Content analysis procedure

A literature search was undertaken to identify studies published whose primary purpose was the development of new measures in the fields of nonprofit management and nonprofit marketing. Bekkers (2010) published a report listing journals in which articles on philanthropy are published. He identified 11 core journals which served as our initial pool of journals to search. A subsequent search involved using various keywords in the Google Scholar search engine. Additionally, we searched electronic databases for journal articles we may have missed in the preceding searchers. Finally, we searched dissertation abstract electronic databases in order to identify relevant theses and dissertations. …

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